Naisa Pan-Asian Cafe
An understated gem in Fountain Square, Naisa charms with subtlety, starting with the name—“Asian” spelled backward—and a quiet, contemporary, one-room space. Signature hot-and-sour soup blends textures of crunchy bamboo shoots and big slices of mushrooms with a presentation so elegant you don’t see the slow burn coming. Pretty, green steamed veggie dumplings arrive chewy and fat and go down like comfort food when drizzled with mild garlic-ginger sauce. From the long list of made-from-scratch pork, shrimp, chicken, and beef dishes, the tangerine chicken, sweet but not syrupy, becomes the rerun order for its more-citrusy twist on the typical orange version. Something gets lost in translation with the chicken-and-corn velvet soup, the one American departure on the menu, but it turns out for the better. The flavor of each ingredient pops brightly in this brothy version, served in a big, deep bowl with a ladle for sharing.